Coercive Control a journey from suppression to aggression!!
Well, here we are, probably my most personal post and the words that relate to my own journey and experiences. It’s not that I’ve been indirect with all of my other words, because they all resonate with my personal journey, with TBI and domestic violence.
BUT! This is not a version of the truth, it’s the “whole truth” and inspired because I’m driven to achieve my opbective, and that is to help as many of you as possible to navigate past the hurt and pain to a successful and happy future. I speak of the Version because that’s what I’ve presented to my self this past 6 years.
As readers of my blog know my first major head and brain injury was from being shot when I was in my mid twenties.. I didn’t know how bad this injury was and the emotional impacts until my second majors head trauma in 2013. But I have realised as I’ve taken this journey to help those who are unfortunately on the same path, that I must be completely honest and truthful and not just present a version of the truth that feels comfortable. And believe me when I share that speaking of these things brings discomfort.
“I know me! I know who I am, the human who will help a stranger, from giving to those less fortunate to helping a young man who’s overdosed on drugs as others pass by, I know my heart is pure, even when I’m lost in my own fear”
So, coercive control!
“Coercive control is a term developed by Evan Stark to help us understand domestic abuse as more than a “fight”. It is a pattern of behaviour which seeks to take away the victim’s liberty or freedom, to strip away their sense of self.”
Ironically this term was developed specifically in regards to treatment of women by men who control the relationship. And here’s the BUT… I’m a man.. Not just a man, I’m a courageous, ex-international sportsman, confident in his ability to achieve his goals.. Or so I thought!!
How did I hand over my soul? My self esteem and spirit, and why didn’t I see it coming? Let’s look at that question.. Everyone presents them selves and their true persona in the end.. And let me say it was completely evedent in my Ex-wife’s behaviours at the beginning, I just chose to ignore it and believe it was due to her ex-partners behaviour.. “Wrong!”
This is not an opportunity to slander my ex-wife either, it is my chance to share how not to fall into this trap, and it’s not gender specific, it happens to women and men.
I’ve never been a judgemental person, looking at life in a way that is practical and searching for the options to see more in people, it’s helped me as a leader in my chosen field. However, my marriage was full of judgement, and I became a mirror image of my wife’s behaviour, which lead to my own disliking of my own self. Nothing I did was good enough. And the words used to belittle me were astounding…
I realised the depth of this control when I logged onto our joint email one day and was presented with an email my ex-wife had sent to one of my life long friends, it was shocking and more challenging was it was full of lies.. All developed to tell a story of inappropriateness on my behalf. And all untrue, but this was one of many sent to family, friends and my children. All punctuated with words that spoke one message, I was bad… And she was good..
Yet id always worked, always paid bills, had provided vehicles, renovated our $million dollar home, tried IVF, twice! And I was “an infertile fool” one of many names… But the point of all these emails? To gain control, to remove every point of support and every close person so that I only had her words resonating in my mind and soul.. In the end my ex-wife had me convinced I was the problem, worthless, and a nobody without her! That people only spoke to me because they were her friends.. She was right, I’d lost all of my vision and was left with no-one.. I’d been isolated.. It took a huge moment of confrontation to finally break the cycle.
After finally loosing my own way and trying to take my own life I was forced into a mental assessment, and my own wife had threatened to have me committed… Her words resonated in my thoughts.. i was terrified.. But I decided to end the relationship.. This however was the beginning of a deeper and more emotionally challenging journey…
After 6 months of healing and searching for my one health, (a journey that would take 6 years or more,)I was beginning to feel free, and as life and karma pays us in its own way, I was offered love… Not just any old love.. I found my soul mate.. An amazing woman.. And eventually the soul who’d inspire my return to health, truth and balance, but the price would be huge and cost my soul dearly.
Those souls, women and men who’ve been in a controlling relationship and had their self worth taken from them are in many ways deeply angry and resentful, and if their ex-partners ego is dented, you can expect them to sabotage your life in as many ways as possible.
I walked in fear of this, and knew from what I’d experienced in the beginning of my marriage, that my ex-wife was capable of distroying my career and relationships with those I walked with. Making calls to my new partner, my family and my children… Leaving no stone unturned and telling lies about me that ripped out any foundation of trust. My anger at this behaviour was imesurable and there’s the reward that the coercive controller is searching for!!!
Once they have triggered your anger and if you’ve defended your self, reached your point of saturation and responded in a way they have expressed to others that you behaved they have won.. You are now being controlled by them.. You’ve lost your self and are exactly who they made you out to be..
I became so lost in the journey of worthlessness that I made up people to speak positively of me.. I couldn’t stand the thought of my children, my friends and more importantly my beautiful partner looking at me as if I was a monster… My Ex-wife had won..
But here I am, finally in a great place, healing from my TBI, writing my books, inspired my my beautiful daughters, my mum and the other beautiful woman I shared some of my journey with, my now (Ex-partner) we never made it.. In the end that’s my fault.. I became what my ex-wife wanted me to be.. Worthless and brought into her picture of me.. There is a message in that behaviour.. Don’t buy into other people’s opinion of you.. It’s the most important part of who you are..
Do what’s in your heart and be who you really know your self to be.. I love who I’ve become now that I’m back looking at the real me.. Helping others to heal from TBI, from domestic violence and from mental abuse.. But more importantly helping men to be the best they can be for their beautiful partners.. To be strong but calm, to speak loving truth and to control their egos.. Had I been who I am now, who I truly knew I was before my journey into coercive control by another person, I’d have had a chance to walk with my soul mate..
Now I pay loving respect to this soul by being the best I can be… I’ve walked forward believing in what I do and how many others I can help by telling my story..
Not every man or women experiences coercive control, but if they have they need loving and deep understanding as they heal and find themselves again..